Officials in the government are judged on a constant basis each election cycle. With every election, the opposition to an incumbent attempts to establish an “improved” platform. Too often, the campaign between candidates becomes a finger-pointing contest based largely on sensationalized media and extrapolations of gaffes. At the end of the day, voters may simply vote for whomever their parents endorse, rendering the entire campaign essentially useless. Yet, in Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown provides a new choice. Senator Brown has put forth his record as the subject of debate. He made his promises in 2010 before winning the special election. Now, he has the job. Senator Brown has taken the seemingly unique approach of putting record over promise. So what is his record? The following analysis considers a number of Senator Brown’s actions through numerous sources.
The first aspect of Senator Brown’s leadership of note is his voting attendance. Between February 2010 and March 2012, Brown attended 563 of 564 recorded or roll call votes . Immediate counterpoints may question leadership. All Senator Brown has to do in reply is point to the STOCK Act and the exposure of NOAA. Senator Brown’s effort to pass the STOCK Act, which banned insider trading by Congress and the executive branch, led to a passage by a 96 to 3 tally . On behalf of the constituents he represents, Senator Brown reflected on the legislation, “Bottom line, members of Congress have to live by the same laws everyone else does… With approval ratings of Congress at an all-time low, this bill represents an opportunity to build some trust with the American people” . In a similar spirit, Senator Brown amplified the exposure of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for spending $300,000 on a party boat. Brown gave a full presentation of the details on the senate floor and questioned relevant officials during a hearing. In his efforts to bring this controversy to the forefront, Senator Brown stated:
Let me describe the situation: NOAA levied totally unreasonable fines against our fishermen. Then they used that money to buy themselves a luxury boat. That’s right, while fishermen in Gloucester and New Bedford are struggling to put off foreclosure or mourning the loss of their livelihood because of NOAA’s overzealous enforcement, the NOAA office was living the good life on their dime .
Senator Brown has demonstrated further connection to the people through his opposition to SOPA. His opposition actually led to a headline in the Huffington Post: “Scott Brown, Jim DeMint Speak Out Against SOPA And Protect IP (TWEETS)” . Senator Brown recognized the significance of the Internet and the freedoms of its users.
Scott Brown has also publicly endorsed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. His support comes with controversy, since the political process has once again been polarized and sensationalized. Brown has given his support in contrast to the Republican Party, which “[charges] that Democrats have turned the bill into a weapon in their ongoing campaign to convince voters the GOP is anti-women by inserting language that would make it easier for illegal aliens who make accusations of domestic violence to receive visas so they can testify in court” . Senator Brown has discussed the domestic violence that he encountered as a child and adolescent, so claims that he is insensitive to the issues facing women in the home are simply not true. Interestingly enough, such claims have occurred following Brown’s support of the Blunt Amendment. The amendment would have granted businesses or insurers the right to deny coverage of procedures or prescriptions that violated religious beliefs. This quickly morphed, via sensationalism, into a false denial of women’s rights. Evidence of the denial as false is Brown’s 50% job approval to 28% disapproval among female voters in Massachusetts in a Western New England University poll after the vote regarding the Blunt Amendment . Senator Brown’s stance on the Blunt Amendment has also drawn criticism about his independent record. If critics wish to ignore his support of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, they still need to address his support of the Democrats’ jobs bill from February 2010. Senator Brown broke with Republicans and supported the bill because he put jobs over partisanship. Senator Brown, even at the beginning of his term, noticed the political divides in Washington and sought to vote for the people. Brown stated, “All of us, Republicans and Democrats, have to work together to get our economy back on track. I hope my vote today is a strong step toward restoring bipartisanship in Washington” . Additionally, Senator Brown’s call for an extension of the payroll tax cut—another break from traditional Republicans—earned him another Huffington Post headline: “Payroll Tax Cut: Scott Brown Scores A Win” . It seems that he meant it when he told voters, “It’s the people’s seat.”
The Senator also supported the final draft of the legislation repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. His support brought the bill over the 60-vote requirement . He recognizes that military service is a sacrifice and that anyone who freely chooses to put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms should be allowed to do so without facing discrimination. Senator Brown can also evaluate legislation related to military relatively well because of his own experience in the National Guard. As an officer in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, he was 800 meters away from a blast near an Afghanistan air base . Although he has not served in combat, he recognizes the genuine sacrifice soldiers make to defend our freedom. Senator Brown also noted, “It’s too bad that some people waste so much of that freedom sniping at and fighting each other in Washington” .
In an effort to bring accountability to Washington, Brown pushed for a tax receipt so that American citizens could see how money was spent among 32 federal budget expenditures . In the interest of the people, Senator Brown said, “During this tough economy, American taxpayers deserve to know exactly how the government is spending their hard-earned dollars… That kind of transparency is the first step towards addressing our exploding debt and deficit” . This effort would provide legitimate transparency. On March 15, 2012, Senator Brown introduced the Congressional and Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, which requires “Members and employees of Congress and other Federal employees who file under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to disclose delinquent tax liability” .
Brown also introduced legislation to increase the penalty for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, in defense of wildlife . As a Massachusetts citizen, Brown understands the significance of animal life along the East Coast. As another example of his awareness of Massachusetts’ needs, Senator Brown proposed a bill authorizing the Secretary of State to issue as many as 10,500 E-3 visas each year to Irish nationals who are in the United States trying to earn a living as patriotic Americans claim can happen .
Senator Scott Brown, through his independent record, has proven that he is making decisions with his constituents in mind. He has chosen to fulfill his promises and continues to resonate with the voters of Massachusetts. In an election where party lines have been drawn to inconvenience opponents, Senator Brown has chosen to address actual issues ranging from the economy to equal opportunity. Massachusetts has the opportunity to maintain one of the nation’s true problem-solvers.
 “Sen. Scott Brown,” GovTrack, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/scott_brown/412384 (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Michael McAuliff, “STOCK Act to Bar Lawmaker Insider Trading Passes Senate,” Huffington Post, February 2, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/stock-act-insider-trading-... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Ron Arnold, “Obama's NOAA Probed For Booze Cruises Bought with Official Fines,” Washington Examiner, March 8, 2012. http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/2012/03/obamas-noa... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 “Scott Brown, Jim DeMint Speak Out Against SOPA and Protect IP (TWEETS),” Huffington Post, January 18, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/scott-brown-jim-demint-sp_... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Hillary Chabot, “Amid Women Woes, Scott Brown Backs Domestic Abuse Bill,” Boston Herald, March 19, 2012. http://news.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/20220319amid_wom... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Robert Rizzuto, “Poll: Sen. Scott Brown Retains Female Support in Massachusetts Despite Stance On Blunt Amendment,” MassLive, http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/03/sen_scott_brown_... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Ben Pershing, “Scott Brown to Back Democrats' Jobs Bill,” Washington Post, February 22, 2010. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/02/scott-brown-to-back-dem... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Michael McAuliff, “Payroll Tax Cut: Scott Brown Scores a Win,” Huffington Post, February 16, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/payroll-tax-cut-scott-brow... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Maya, “Big Boost For Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal: Brown Backs Senate Bill,” The Note, entry posted December 16, 2010, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/12/big-boost-for-dont-ask... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Noah Bierman, “In Paperback Version, Brown Adds Political Afterword,” Boston Globe, March 21, 2012. http://articles.boston.com/2012-03-21/metro/31213549_1_rock-thrower... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 Devin Dwyer, “Would a Receipt Make Paying Income Taxes Less Despised?” ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/federal-income-tax-receipt-proposed-... (accessed March 21, 2012).
 “S. 2195: Congressional and Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2012,” GovTrack, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s2195 (accessed March 21, 2012).
 “S. 1402: Marine Mammal Protection Amendment Act of 2011,” GovTrack, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s1402 (accessed March 21, 2012).
 “S. 2005: IRE Act,” GovTrack, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s2005 (accessed March 21, 2012).